Fun day to help road to recovery for four-year-old with leukemia

Oliver Burton

Oliver Burton - Credit: Archant

Two long years after his diagnosis of leukaemia, little Oliver Burton is on the road to recovery thanks in large part to the efforts of a family friend from Hellesdon - Carl Webb.

Now four years old, Oliver was born unexpectedly with Down's Syndrome, and alarming symptoms soon led to his cancer diagnosis.

In a bizarre turn of events, his mother Adele Doherty was reunited with childhood friend Mr Webb when he set up a fundraising event for her son, unaware of the connection.

The pair were friends when Mr Webb attended Broadland High, and became like 'brother and sister,' he said.

'I feel so blessed we got in contact again, and in such a strange, bizarre way,' said Mrs Doherty. 'He has done this for us and wants to go on and help other children, which is remarkable.'

Oliver has been in and out of Great Ormond Street Hospital for the last two years, and been through five courses of chemotherapy.

'When you hear the word cancer you are gripped with the worst fear - it is terrifying and soul destroying,' aded Mrs Doherty, 46. 'There is a very real possibility you are being told your child could die.

Most Read

'There is so much negativity about Down Syndrome but Oliver is Oliver. He has lit up our lives and is beautiful inside and out.

'People with Down Syndrome have a special quality - he is very sweet natured and loving considering what he has gone through. Even when he is crying within five minutes he has smiling and laughing with the doctors.'

With the final stages of treatment approaching, Mr Webb, of Hellesdon, has organised a weekend of fundraising events called Oliver's Day, in a bid to help raise some money for the family and hopefully send the toddler to Disneyland.

'I used to do bits and bobs for children's charities, and one day they said they had a story about a little boy called Oliver,' he said. 'I had no idea at the time he was Adele's son, but the story just touched me. I had just had a little one at the same time and I just thought what if that had been my little girl?

'Afterwards she managed to contact me, and asked if it was me who had raised all the money. I still didn't know it was her because she had changed her surname, but eventually the penny dropped.

'At the time they had needed an awful lot of respite for the family. They were going to Great Ormond Street every other day and this was for them to get a little break away from it all. It also helps them out for fuel costs to and from the hospital and bits and bobs like that.'

Oliver now lives with the family in Harrow, and has four sisters aged between six and 21.

'It has a knock-on effect on the family and it has been a dreadful time for everyone involved,' added Mrs Doherty. 'He will remain under Great Ormond Street for the next five years, and will not be effectively cancer-free until he is nine.

'You can't let cancer overtake your life, but it is always there lurking in the back of your mind.'

Three days of events will be held in support of Oliver this month.

Oliver's Journey charity golf day will be held on Friday, August 26 at Sprowston Manor Golf Club. On Saturday, August 27, entertainment including Tom Daynes and The Deal will be performing at Salhouse Lodge from 4pm to 11pm, and on Sunday, August 28, there will be a family fun day at Salhouse Lodge from 1pm including a barbecue, bouncy castle and face painting. Are you taking on a charity challenhs? Email dominic.gilbert@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter